- Biographical notes -

Dietrich Eichmann

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Comprehensive biography, tabulated
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Dietrich Eichmann’s works as a composer have been performed on international festivals by renowned ensembles. As a pianist and improviser he is actively involved in many international collaborations and as an organizer he runs the oaksmus CD label and produced the associated concert series in Berlin.
Furthermore he has designed several education projects, for instance for Universität der Künste Berlin and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

His roots in jazz and improvised music combine with his radical aesthetic approach to musical composition resulting in the unmistakable language of an unusual spirit. Recent works include a concerto for Peter Brötzmann and the Ensemble Modern, “Prayer to the Unknown Gods of the People Without Rights“. Currently, he works with Ensemble Modern’s bassoonist, Johannes Schwarz, researching instrumental techniques and live electronics. Eichmann’s work as an improvising pianist, particularly his duet with New York-based percussionist Jeff Arnal, and recently as the leader of the Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble , is increasingly taken note of and documented in several releases on Leo Records and brokenresearch. He has been commissioned by SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, Lyon Opéra Ballet, MaerzMusik Berlin, and has received grants from Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftung, Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, and others. CD releases of his compositions can be found on Wergo and oaksmus.

Biography continuous text (3,947 characters)
In the early 1980s German composer and pianist Dietrich Eichmann (* 1966) first studied with Alexander von Schlippenbach, one of the prime exponents in Germany of improvised music. Cecil Taylor, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Luigi Nono, and Morton Feldman, as well as satirist Wofgang Neuss, the “man with the kettle-drum”, were those who provided the inspiration that drove his creative impulse. Eichmann studied composition with Wolfgang Rihm in Karlsruhe from 1986-92. He was co-founder of the Neue Komponisten Gesellschaft (NKG), an association that presented concerts, inter-active events, and European tours between 1990 and 1996. From 1992 to 96 he completed his studies as Frederic Rzewski’s assistant at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Liège in Belgium. From 2000 to 2004 he organized the oaksmus studio concerts in Berlin. He founded the CD label of the same name in 2001.

Eichmann’s oeuvre so far consists of around 60 works in all categories.

A commission from the Opéra de Lyon in the 1995/96 season led to writing music for a ballet-triptych. A collaborative effort with choreographer Stéphanie Aubin, this ballet had more than twenty performances in both Paris and Lyon. His ground-breaking First Piano Concerto Entre deux guerres was premièred in 1999 by the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg. The renewed performance of Entre deux guerres was a highlight of Bremen’s PGNM festival Reaktionen– Musikalische Konfrontationen mit der politischen Gegenwart in November 2002. His composition Prayer to the Unknown Gods of the People Without Rights for ensemble with an improvising soloist was first performed in Wuppertal in October 2002 by saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and the Wuppertal Chamber Orchestra conducted by Werner Dickel. The Ensemble Modern – who premièred his work Verdichtung for the Berlin festival MaerzMusik 2002 – commissioned a new version of the concerto for Brötzmann which was premièred successfully in Frankfurt, in April 2006.

In collaboration with outstanding soloists, Eichmann’s numerous chamber music works often led to extension of the instrumental possibilities as well as to a rethink of the relation between composer and performer, the latter achieving the composed material with the intensity of the improvising musician creating his own music.

Consequently, Eichmann has actively revived his interest in improvised music over the last years.

During his first USA tour in spring 2002 the successful duo work with American percussionist Jeff Arnal started. The duo appeared in concert halls such as the Goethe Institute New York City, deSingel Antwerp, at Sendesaal Radio Bremen, and at the 2005 festival Improvised and Otherwise Brooklyn, NY. The concert activity of the Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble started in autumn 2007. This ensemble, with singer/electrician Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson, reedist Chris Heenan, percussionist Michael Griener, and the two bassists Alexander Frangenheim and Christian Weber, have since proceeded to unknown territory even in “free improvisation”, in the collaboration with London-based Art Rock Duo Walter & Sabrina.

Pedagogical activities include several workshops on composition and improvisation at universities, schools, and boarding schools in Germany and Belgium. He has been engaged for several educational projects by institutions such as Universität der Künste and MaerzMusik, the Education Department of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and ohrenstrand.net.

Eichmann was scholar of Darmstädter Ferienkurse, one art Baden-Baden, Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftung des Südwestfunks, Senatsverwaltung für kulturelle Angelegenheiten Berlin, International Music Omi Summer Residency, and Cité Internationale des Arts Paris. He participated in the Music Theatre Workshop operare07, on invitation by Zeitgenössische Oper Berlin. Besides several CD publications Dietrich Eichmann’s music is thoroughly documented in numerous recordings at almost all German and many international radio studios.

Comprehensive biography, tabulated (7,542 characters)

1966 born in Erlangen, grew up in Berlin.

At the beginning of the 1980’s studies in piano and improvisation with Alexander von Schlippenbach. Active in Berlin’s jazz music scene as performer and arranger.
1985-86 studies in musicology and philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin.
1986-92 studies at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe, composition with Wolfgang Rihm, theory and analysis with Mathias Spahlinger and Walter Zimmermann.
1986 and 1988 scholar of the Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik.
1986-87 performance-duo FIQ (Fraktion Illegaler Quomponisten) with Wolfgang von Stürmer. Publication of the audio-tape "En Suite".
1987 realisation of FIQ’s computer music concept "Game and Earnest" on commission by the Festival Belluard/Bollwerk in Fribourg (Switzerland) (FIQ With Guests were: Dietrich Eichmann, Christoph Grund, Uwe Kremp, Wolfgang von Stürmer and Reimar Volker); revised version produced at the Süddeutscher Rundfunk, in 1989.
1987-88 scholar of the Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftung des Südwestfunks.
1990 invitation to the International Composers‘ Workshop of the Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt, for the realisation of "PRAE-BLUE" (soloist: Teodoro Anzellotti).
Scholar of the Senatsverwaltung für kulturelle Angelegenheiten Berlin for the realisation of "mirlitonnades", performed at the Akademie der Künste Berlin, March 1991.
Co-founder of the Neue Komponisten Gesellschaft e.V. (NKG), a society which had been presenting concerts and happenings all over Europe, until 1996.
1992-94 lectures as assistant to Frederic Rzewski at Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Liège (Belgium); further studies in improvisation with Garrett List.
1993 once again scholar of the Senatsverwaltung für kulturelle Angelegenheiten for the realisation of the concerto for cello and orchestra "Study No. 267", performed in October ’93 at the Schauspielhaus Berlin (soloist: Maria Kliegel).
1993-97 instrumental duo with Japanese clarinetist, Takashi Yamane.
1994 two-hour radio portait of Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas, produced at the Sender Freies Berlin.
"D.I.Y." European Tour with Teodoro Anzellotti, Ken Butler, Anthony Coleman, Christoph Grund and Wolfgang von Stürmer.
1995 "GotToBeHybrid" Tour through Scotland, Denmark and Germany, with the Emperor String Quartet (London) and the NKG-Ensemble (Karlsruhe).
1995-96 collaboration with the choreographer Stéphanie Aubin (Cie. Larsen, Paris) for the dance triptych "Presto – Subito – Volti subito" on his compositions "Piano Quartet The Late 92" and "La pulsation intégrale", a commission by the Opéra de Lyon. This programme was performed more than twenty times in Paris and Lyon.
1996 first appearance at the festival Ars Musica, Brussels.
"Kaske-Prize" for his compositional work.
Editing and publishing of the documentation "Neue Komponisten Gesellschaft 1990 bis 1996".
1997 participation in the "Europäische Werkstatt zeitgenössischer Musik", Dresden.
1998 scholar of "one art", Baden-Baden, where the piano concerto "Entre deux guerres" was completed.
1999 participation in Gerhard Stäbler’s "LandMarks 1" in the industrial halls of "Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord" in the German Ruhrgebiet.
Since 1999, Dietrich Eichmann lives in Berlin again.
In October "Entre deux guerres" is premièred successfully by soloist Christoph Grund and the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, conducted by David Coleman, in Freiburg and the ZKM Karlsruhe.
2000 In August the first concert of the series oaksmus studio concerts takes place. The series is continued until 2004, and oaksmus becomes an independent CD label. Among other productions, the studio concerts are documented on oaksmus CDs.
2001 In January, an extensive portrait concert is performed by soloists of the Symphony Orchestra of the Südwestrundfunk Baden-Baden and Freiburg, in the Konzerthaus Freiburg. Eichmann gives classes in several schools of the region.
A portrait CD, produced for the "Edition Zeitgenössischer Musik" of the Deutscher Musikrat (DMR), is published at Wergo (WER 6550 2).
2002 In March "Verdichtung" is premièred by Ensemble Modern conducted by Dominique My at MaerzMusik 2002 in Berlin.
In April/May the Straight Trio with Lars Scherzberg (sax), Dietrich Eichmann (piano) and Astrid Weins (double bass) tour the USA for two weeks. Concert venues include Improvised and Otherwise - A Festival of Sound and Form and the Knitting Factory, New York.
First duet recordings with American percussionist Jeff Arnal, an on-going fruitful collaboration.
In October, "Prayer to the Unknown Gods of the People Without Rights" is premièred by soloist Peter Brötzmann and the Wuppertal Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Werner Dickel, at the festival Die 3. Art, Wuppertal.
In November, the renewed performance of "Entre deux guerres" is a highlight at PGNM festival Reaktionen – Musikalische Konfrontationen mit der politischen Gegenwart (Reactions – Musical Confrontations With Today’s Political Reality) in Bremen.
2003 Eichmann and Jeff Arnal are fellows of International Music Omi Summer Residency 2003 and appear in concert halls like Goethe Institute, New York City, and deSingel, Antwerp. The duet give classes and a workshop at North German boarding school Louisenlund.
2004 In February Arnal & Eichmann perform with Lithuanian reedist Liudas Mockunas in Copenhagen and in a two-hour live broadcast concert at Radio Bremen. Also in February their first duet CD is released on Leo Records.
25 children, 7-8 years of age, perform their Kinder-Denk-Konzert (Children’s Thinking Concerto) at the Berlin Festival MaerzMusik as a result of Eichmann’s work with the kids in a basic school in Berlin-Mitte.
From May to October Eichmann is composer in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. Here an intense collaboration with Spanish percussionst Ramón López began.
2005 In May second USA tour with Jeff Arnal. The duet’s appearance is one of the highlights of the festival Improvised and Otherwise in Brooklyn.
2006 Commissioned by the Ensemble Modern, the new version of the concerto for Peter Brötzmann, Prayer to the Unknown Gods of the People Without Rights is premièred successfully in Frankfurt’s Alte Oper.
Co-author and composer for French filmmaker Cédric Labourdette’s film “Deutschland wünscht sich was”.
2007 Renewed engagement by MaerzMusik Berlin to present results of a six month workshop with school children, this time a high school last year class.
Participation in the Music Theatre Workshop operare07, on invitation by Zeitgenössische Oper Berlin.
In October/November first concert tour of the Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble.
2008 In April Eichmann realizes his concept of the project SONGS-Rilke on Anton Webern’s op.8 for the Education Department of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In May the Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble is recording with the London-based Art Rock Duo Walter and Sabrina for the CD productions Jung Ahh Fleisch and demons! (released in July/August).
The Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble is the first ensemble for improvised music invited to Bremen’s PGNM festival in November.
2009 “Error 90/91”, a mini opera video clip Eichmann produced, in collaboration with stage director Enrico Stolzenburg, film maker Andreas Rochholl, and the 12th grade highschool class of John Lennon Gymnasium Berlin, is released by Kadmos Productions in February, and available on YouTube.com. This clip is honored with the “Junge Ohren Preis 2009” in December.
In June Eichmann is invited to the New Spirit Festival – Flute Sounds 2009 in Prishtina, Kosovo.
In December he tours with Jeff Arnal, appearing, for instance, at Les rencontres musique et littérature in Paris.

Besides several CD publications Dietrich Eichmann’s music is thoroughly documented in numerous recordings at almost all German and many international radio studios.